Aug 092017
 

When I think about awards, I picture movie stars and media personalities who  “thank the academy” as they run down the mental list of all the people who support them. There are jokes about forgetting important people and occasionally a musical “hook” designed to drag them off of center stage. My recent, personal award experience, however, makes me think of Groundhog Day — not the movie with Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray, but the actual day.

It's summer in north Florida, but I was deep in my best imitation of a hibernating groundhog. Click To Tweet

Not long ago, the incoming president of FAPA (the Florida Authors and Publishers Association) came to speak to our local writers’ group. After an informative presentation about a new venue for sales, she talked about a training collaboration with the Amelia Island Book Festival. She also told us about FAPA’s national book awards and the coming deadline. After the meeting, she engaged me in conversation and encouraged me to submit. “We need more non-fiction,” she said. “Who doesn’t?” I thought.

And then I went back into my burrow.

I worked on a big website and a multi-author project. I pulled up the award application and ignored it some more. I purged a ton of paper. I nested deeper into my office space and did some planning. It was summer in Florida, but I was deep in my best imitation of a hibernating groundhog.

Then I applied.


I think it is important to support my peers and felt good about donating my entry fee to an organization that supports authors and literacy. As far as I knew, that was the end of that.

Hotel ballrooms, playing dress-up, small talk and schmoozing are all outside of my comfort zone. Click To Tweet

You see, while some will dress in costume to promote their work, there are legions of us who would rather be home — writing or researching. It’s not because we are unfriendly. Many of us are introverts. That doesn’t mean we are shy: it means that being in a large group of people drains every bit of our social energy. We need to re-charge in private, in our personal burrows. Like Punxsutawney Phil.

When I was notified that TICA (that’s what we call The Inner Critic Advantage around here) would receive a medal, I was grateful that my friend Nancy Blanton, author of  Irish historical fiction, was also at the top of her category. I knew once I committed to her, I would have to go. And it would be fun.

Traveling to somewhere I’ve been before… hotel ballrooms…. playing dress-up…. schmoozing… all outside my comfort zone.

Authors and publishers in person are a lot like the online version: warm, encouraging, funny, and… Click To Tweet

But guess what? An in-person group of authors and publishers is a lot like an online version: warm, encouraging, funny, and supportive. We swapped tips and wished one another well. We applauded the success of each of our peers, across numerous categories. And, thanks to the loving attention of the FAPA board? Even in heels, not a single one of us fell flat on our faces while crossing the stage.

Friends keep asking how I feel and I can’t help thinking about all those who make writing possible. I’m thinking about those who help me grow and improve. And those who give the swift kick in the butt beta read and proof read and answer Facebook questions that don’t really look like research. I’ve got a long list.

More than anything, I feel grateful. Humble and inspired to do more. So I’d like to thank the Academy… and get back into my burrow, be quiet, and to get to work.

 

Who’s in your personal Academy?

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 August 9, 2017  Posted by  Inner Critic, Self care, Thinking 10 Responses »
Apr 222017
 

There’s nothing like a change of scene to wake up curiosity and creativity. We recently had the opportunity to travel to south Florida to catch up with a family member and, together, did a bit of exploring. Familiar with our love of art and innovation, she whisked us off to Wynwood where the vibe is as friendly and colorful as the wall-to-wall street art. I can’t imagine anyone spending time there without thinking about creativity and where it fits in their lives. Here are some favorite thoughts on the topic.

 

Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way. ~Twyla Tharp

Creativity is not just for artists. Click To Tweet

Art knows no prejudice, art knows no boundaries, art doesn’t really have judgment in its purest form. So just go, just go. ~ K. D. Lang

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas. ~ Donatella Versace

I want art to make me think. In order to do that, it may piss me off, or make me uncomfortable. That promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion. ~ Pink

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. ~ Steve Jobs

Creativity is just connecting things. Click To Tweet

 

 

Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens. ~ Phylicia Rashad

 

When you live under the power of terror and segregation, you can’t ever start a work of art. ~ Jeanne Moreau

 

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Terrorized by your Inner Editor? Inner Critic Kicking your butt? If you’re looking for an answer be sure to check out The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head by Andrea Patten. (On Amazon. Or ask at your local indie bookstore.)

 April 22, 2017  Posted by  Inner Critic, Thinking 9 Responses »
Apr 122017
 

 

What do relocation to a new climate, a chronic health issue, and a lifestyle change have in common? They are a few of the things that ganged up on me to create chaos in my closet.

For a while, I ignored the fact that nothing felt right: either too heavy for the intensely hot weather, or too formal for our lovely island lifestyle. I mixed and matched, tried alterations and new accessories, but no matter how hard I tried, the things in my closet didn’t match my life. Everything felt slightly “off.”

So, I decided to take the now-famous Marie Kondo approach: I took EVERYTHING out of the closet and the drawers and made a big, confused pile. I brought in the largest empty storage bin I could locate. Anything that didn’t fit? Anything I thought I “should” want? Clothing that would look better when I lose a few pounds? Items that didn’t spark joy? Gone. Into the bin. It took several hours, but I made a decision about every single piece of clothing I own.

Less sorting. Less organizing. Less ironing. Click To Tweet

I started to think about how much easier it would be to pack for our trip next weekend… and how much less time would be devoted to laundry. Less sorting. Less organizing. Less ironing.

I remembered a long-ago campaign. “Clean closets save lives.” Wow. That blast from the past was a promotion we put together when I was the director of a domestic violence program. We made an arrangement with one of the local thrift stores so donors could bring items directly to them and donate on behalf of the organization. And when clients needed clothing they went straight to that store. No more piles in the back room of the agency or of our donors’ closets. It wasn’t our biggest fundraiser, but it became one of our most consistent.

What happens when we let go of things that no longer fit? Click To Tweet

What happens when we let go of things that no longer fit?

My closet feels like a finished manuscript. Neat. Logical. There’s no more “should.” “Someday” seems to be gone, too. Also missing is “what if” as in “what if I need it?” If it’s not here, I don’t need it. And that feels good. It feels like peace and space for more of what is wonderful.

 

 April 12, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic 5 Responses »
Mar 012017
 
Picture of Oprah in red dress and yelling "you get The Inner Critic Advantage." Everybody can go home with The Inner Critic Advantage.

I created a meme of my Oprah Show fantasy…

She laughed at me

Several years back, at a publishing conference, I had an opportunity to speak with some industry veterans.  One was gracious enough to take a quick look at the marketing plan I was working on. I was encouraged… until she laughed. My inner critic went a little bit nuts. I wanted to crawl under some furniture or run from the room.

Fortunately, she noticed and said, “I like you. You may be the only author in America whose plan does not include the words ‘Get on Oprah’s show.'”

[Tweet “You may be the only author in America who’s not trying to get on an Oprah show.”]

I know why so many people wanted to do that: marketing an indie book can be h*ll on wheels. Granted, some of this is as a result of self-inflicted wounds caused by lack of feedback from beta readers, editing, and proofreading. But even excellent work has a hard time getting through the avalanche of media and advertising readers see every single day.

My Inner Critic is up to no good

Personally? I need to take a closer look at the role of my inner critic in all of this. While I’m able to harness her powerful warnings to complete writing projects, she’s still pretty shrieky when it comes to self-promotion. (“Get your ego in check!” “It’s not polite to talk about yourself.”) She has gotten a little sneakier and has a New Age-y approach as well: “Stop bothering people. If they’re meant to find you, they will.”

Thank goodness for readers and other writers who help share about our books, our blogs, our events and our news. You are truly a gift.

[Tweet “Thank goodness for readers and other authors who share.”]

And, if you’d like to be part of that giant online support group but don’t know where to start? Here are three small actions that are a huge help.

Reviews. Especially on Amazon and GoodReads. They don’t have to be long to be meaningful. “The author presents helpful information with a light touch.” Or, “I found the story captivating.” Expert tip: If you are personally acquainted with the author please don’t mention that in your review. It’s a red flag for “fake review” and could cause problems for the author. Also, if you’re a relative… especially one with the same name? DON’T POST A REVIEW. (See previous example.)

Facebook page likes and engagement. Have you ever seen the “invite friends to like page” feature on the right-hand side of your computer screen? If you “like” an author (or any page) your friends are more likely to follow suit — if you ask them to. And once on a page? Participate. Comment on and share posts.

You rock. We love you

Genuine interaction helps get attention for our work, keeps authors motivated, and lets the inner critic of self-promotion know it’s OK to go somewhere and take a nap!

What’s your favorite way to help amplify an author’s message? (Please share in the comments section. Every little bit helps!)

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Is your brain still kicking your butt? You may not be at fault…. What if you’ve been following the wrong advice? Click to download 3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Inner Critic and find out about something you can do instead.

3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Your Inner Critic

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